By Ericka Bennett
I have seen scripture come to life in India in the most incredible way. The things I have seen and experienced have changed the way I hear God’s word- the way I see His life in my mind.
I know now how it feels to touch a leper, to look into their eyes and see the beautiful person that is inside their dying body. I know how it feels to want to heal them, to make them whole. I understand how much it means that Jesus was willing to touch the untouchable.
“A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ‘ If you are willing, you can make me clean.'”
“Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.”
I know now how the crowds must have tired Him. For three weeks I have been stared at and approached by strangers. I’ve been asked random questions, and had people want to take pictures with me that I didn’t know. I’ve been waved at by strangers everywhere I went. There’s always someone looking at us – I feel like I have to be smiling and happy all the time.
I’ve been expected to speak at a moment’s notice. And now in the crowds here, I’ve been hugged, kissed, and touched from every direction. It finally got to both my roommate and I, and so we spent the last few days resting and recovering from our weariness.
I can only imagine the attention, multiplied by thousands for Jesus. There was never a moment to escape, crowds that followed Him everywhere. At every turn, people always expecting Him to speak, to heal, to be 110% all the time- but He was human, too.
Jesus was fully God, but he was also fully man. Now I understand His humanity more than ever before.
Yet even in his humanity, He had the compassion of God.
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
I know now how the children must have mobbed Jesus – pressing in to touch Him, to kiss Him, to hold His hand – wanting so desperately to show Him the affection they had for Him, the eager and innocent affection of a child, just bursting to be poured out on Him.
I know too how exhausting that affection can be, and why the disciples rebuked them. I know why they pushed them away – we have had many people here who meant well in shooing away visiting children in an attempt to let us breathe.
They meant well, just as the disciples meant well. Yes, their affection is overwhelming and exhausting, but it is so beautiful we cannot turn them away.
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'”
Thank you, God, for letting me experience more than just words on a page. Thank you for bringing Your Word to life.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
-1 John 3:1
If you liked this article, check out: Hope in a Leper Colony
Ericka , a graduate from Auburn University, is from Alabama and recently moved to Georgia to work with Adventures in Missions after the orphans in Africa broke her heart.